And yet, no photos…

I wish I could upload photos from my trip, but the cruise ship’s Internet cafe doesn’t allow it. So once I’m home and settled, I plan to upload a few highlights. Of course, the funny “outtake” photos are probably the best… and we’ve had several of those! Even a few that could be used as blackmail should I ever decide to run for public office. Not inappropriate, but highly embarrassing and amusing.

Yesterday was Sicily and the mafia… today was Naples and Pompeii (which I loved!). Tomorrow is good old Rome, and then Florence, and then Barcelona! I’m sad to think that my fabulous vacation may be winding to a close… it will be hard to go back to the real world (which I will have to do just a few hours after I land… it should make for a very interesting first day back at work!). At the moment, I have no idea what day of the week it is, and it really doesn’t matter. I haven’t done any heavy-duty thinking in over a week… and it’s wonderful! Memories of stress from school and work faded days ago.

And… I have eaten my weight in pizza and ice cream. Luckily, we have also been good about hitting the gym.

Now I’m off to read a book before a late-night comedy show. I love vacation.

Postcard from the Adriatic Sea

Just a quick note to say that the European Cruise is going wonderfully! I’ve visited Venice, Croatia (Dubrovnik), and Greece (Corfu, Argostoli, and Santorini). I have walked miles around a medieval wall in 100 degree heat, walked down a mountain in donkey dung (funniest 40 minutes of my trip), and rolled backwards through a Greek village in a jeep with stripped gears (before hitching a ride with a group of French Candian strangers). It has been a magical vacation. And anybody thinking about visiting Europe should definitely consider seeing it on a cruise… we travel from destination to destination while I sleep soundly in my cabin. Every night I get a 5-course meal… for free. I’ve got all the water I want… for free (if you’ve ever been to Europe, you can appreciate this). And I have taken a nap almost every day of my trip. Greece is spectacular, and I’m seriously tempted to sell everything I own and buy a villa on a cliff in Santorini. If I don’t come home, you’ll know where to find me… in a white-washed home with a blue dome roof, overlooking the sea.

Tonight I had a 3-hour dinner in a restaurant on a cliff in Fira, Santorini (the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants island), overlooking the sea as I watched the sun set across the horizen. It has been a spectacular vacation so far. I promise to post pictures when I return. But trust me, it’s spectacular!

Hodge-Podge… big time!

This is what happens when I take a break from writing for awhile. Everything starts churning in my head, bubbling up to the surface, and next thing I know there’s ten topics that I want to cover. 

First of all, you won’t be hearing from me for awhile. Again. I know, you should probably give up on me altogether. This time is for a very FUN reason though… I’m about to set off on my third European adventure in the past four years! Hooray! This time I’m going with a wonderfully sweet girlfriend of mine, and I already know that God is going to bless us with exciting adventures, good conversations, and fun memories. 
Our cruise ship will have an Internet cafe, so there’s a slight chance I may sneak in a post or two, but it depends on if (a) they charge by the minute to use their WiFi, and (b) if I can tear myself away from all the Mediterranean fun long enough to write. So if not, bear with me, and I promise to post lot’s of pictures very soon!
On to the next thing…
My youngest sister graduated from Baylor yesterday! She, Sarah, and I are all fifth generation Baylor alums… our family has gone to Baylor since 1885. A great great aunt, a great grandmother, my grandfather, both my parents, and now all three of us, plus a future brother-in-law who is a Baylor Bear. And I can’t forget my genius British aunt who taught here for a few years. My family’s blood flows thickly with the green and gold goodness of the Baylor spirit. 

Ick, I look a little creepy in that photo. It was horribly humid, and I was a bit tired, and well, I could come up with many more excuses… but oh well, sometimes a gal just ends up taking a creepy photo… I guess that’s life. But I do love how excited both my parents look in that photo. I’m sure they’re breathing a huge sigh of relief that they finally got all three daughters through school.
Here’s a photo of something I got Lins for graduation… this shirt makes me laugh so hard, I almost want to become a nurse simply so I can wear it. Which reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where the guy converts to Judaism simply for the jokes. But I digress…

Speaking of weddings… I wrote awhile back about Lindsay’s wedding dress debacle. I’m not sure if I ever wrote about the resolution… basically David’s Bridal did in fact do the right thing and fixed her dress (I think it was the fifth alteration) for free. Apparently the curse of the ill-fitting dress must run in the family, because I went to pick up my bridesmaid dress this morning from the tailor, and mine didn’t fit either. My alteration guy was smart though… I could tell he was about to accuse me of gaining weight, preventing my dress from properly zipping up, but I gave him a look that said “Sir, I dare you to even suggest that I would gain enough weight in one week to cause my dress to be about four sizes too small,” and I think he got the point. So instead we’re going to try letting out the part he took in. Hope this dress survives until the big day!
I’ve been on a crazy organizing kick lately. I’ve cleaned out every closet, cabinet and drawer in my house over the past month. It’s what happens when I finish with school and suddenly find myself with a few hours of spare time. But as you can see, the compulsive cleaning was necessary. Check out my before and after pictures:
Before (I promise, this is exactly how it looked when I opened the door… everything falls right on your head):


Now onto the hardest project of all… packing! I’m not sure how a gal packs for such a long get-away, one that includes 4-wheeling across the Greek countryside, formal dinners on a cruise ship, leisurely walks along a Spanish beach and miles of trekking through Rome. I may win the award for most luggage on a trip… I’m off to go see if I can weed anything out.


Not much time to write, I’m expecting to board my flight back home any minute. But I had to let you know that I was upgraded to FIRST CLASS for my flight home! Hooray! I have never ridden first class… I hope this doesn’t spoil me forever. If I had known I was going to ride home with the fancy-schmancy first class folks, I would have worn a cocktail dress or something.


I survived my big paper presentation. I think the PhD’s were so surprised that we actually wrote a paper about something REAL, and they were probably a bit distracted by my pretty 4-color hand-outs (for a PR conference, the handouts here have been decidedly bland), so they forgot to string me up by my toenails and take turns beating me up with their criticism. Instead, they asked me questions I knew how to answer and complimented us on our interesting topic and method. The editor of a well-known PR journal stayed after our presentation and told us he would like to publish our article in his journal this year! Hooray! Everything went so much better than I had expected, but I’ll admit that I was this close to peeing in my pants at one point. All that worry for nothing. 


I’m at my academic research conference in Miami, and it’s quite a an experience. I’m one of about five non-PhD’s in a room of 100 people, which means I’m the only one who doesn’t dream about T-tests and regression analysis. They want to publish a 10o-page thesis on some obscure communication theory… I want to publish silly junior high fiction. 

But it’s good to be exposed to new things. This is a counter-culture of people that I never really understood before, but after listening to 24 research papers be presented today (no kidding) I have a better idea of just what it means to be an academic. And I know I’m not one of them.
Please say a little prayer for me tomorrow as it’s my turn to present my research… 26 glorious pages on employee engagement, control mutuality and dialogic communication. Some of these PhD’s may eat me alive, and I think they’re going to enjoy it.
Also say a prayer that I don’t die of starvation. I’m not a picky eater… the only thing I don’t eat is fish and cheesecake. Guess what they served for lunch… fish and cheesecake. Which  meant that all I got were a few bites of powdered mashed potatoes and some zucchini. By early afternoon, I started a desperate search of our hotel for anything edible. I was told by an employee that there was NOTHING for me to eat. No candy bar, no spare cookie, no hamburger at the grill… apparently I’m staying in the only hotel in America without even a vending machine. I pleaded with the gal, telling her I would pay for the food, if they could just find me SOMETHING. Maybe I looked like I was about to break down, because she eventually left and came back with a slightly-smashed nutra-grain bar. She probably dug it out of her purse. Bless her. 
Back to the adventure… I guess I’ll go learn something.


My friends, I promise to do better on my posts this week. I should have some spare time since I’ll be spending most of my week in a hotel in MIAMI! I’ve been to Florida several times, but never to Miami, and you know how much I love to travel. I’ll be presenting my research paper at the International Public Relations Research Conference, and in my spare time I’ll probably sit in the back of the conference and stalk people on Facebook with my new iPhone while doing my best to look like I’m listening. Oh how I love traveling! And oh how I especially love FREE trips!

In the meantime, here’s a few photos from a fantastic bachelorette party this weekend. We sat on the rooftop of my favorite restaurant in the whole world and enjoyed one of the most beautiful evenings of the year.

Truth in advertising

I really hate misleading advertising. I feel qualified to criticize the advertising industry, seeing as that’s what I do for a living. And I will proudly tell you that everything I put out is true.

My credit card, on the other hand… not so much.

It’s time for me to purchase my ticket to Europe, and this one is mucho expensive. Going over there we’re flying DFW to Chicago to Madrid to Venice. I’m not sure how we’re getting home, but I do know we’re leaving form Barcelona. It’s going to be nutty. This ticket may be worth more than my car.

I thought my points on my special VISA card could be used for anything. After all, this is the “World Points” card that can be used for anything… miles, cash, merchandise, maybe even buying a first-born child. Anyway, I thought my 30,000 miles could combine with my 15,000 AA miles, which would leave me only 15,000 miles short of a flight… to the tune of about $500. Except my “no black-out dates, any flight works” card doesn’t work on anything. And it doesn’t translate to any miles. So now I’m left paying cash for a super-expensive ticket. Blah blah blah.

Shame on you VISA. If I had known it was this difficult, I would have ended our relationship a long time ago!

Off again

It’s official. I have planned my next trip to Europe. My goal of jetting across the Atlantic every other summer continues!

June 2005: My parents and I met my aunt Janis & uncle Jonathan (who live in Oxford) in England, and did Oxford, London, Stratford, and Paris.

June 2007: My entire family went on a 2-week tour of Italy (Florence, Venice, Rome, Pisa), Monaco, and France (Nice, Cannes, Paris).

May/June 2009: A friend and I are taking a cruise to Italy (Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples), Croatia, Greece (3 stops, don’t remember which ones yet) and Barcelona Spain.

Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness! I can’t wait! My next 10 months are going to be spent reading about Greece and Spain, watching movies that take place in Greece and Spain, and dreaming about good-looking guys from Greece and Spain.

I try to live my life as if it were an adventure. And this certainly makes it more interesting!

New York, New York

I just got back from my whirlwind trip to New York. It was an AMAZING trip. God really blessed us during these past few days–literally every detail worked out in our favor, every single time! I’ll post more soon, but here’s some pictures to get you started.

Cheering for the Rangers at Yankee Stadium

Final Score… Rangers 3, Yankees 2

And you might recognize this lady from The TODAY Show…

More to come later!